Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yes, You Can Believe In Santa Claus

He's been there all along. We just had to catch up. Relativity helps.

Based on his advanced knowledge of the theory of relativity, Santa recognizes that time can be stretched like a rubber band, that space can be squeezed like an orange and that light can be bent. Silverberg says. Relativity clouds are controllable domains, “ rips in time“, that allow him months to deliver presents while only a few minutes pass on Earth. The presents are truly delivered in a wink of an eye.

As children we knew these secrets of the universe. Perhaps age clouds our reason..

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings,
then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim,
'ere he drove out of sight

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Sara said...

I can't decide if this post reveals your true geekiness or your hidden sappiness.

Grayson said...

Here's a bit from one of the best, trippiest book reviews I've ever read. It was almost as good as the books it was talking about, the totally trippy Dark Material trilogy (The Golden Compass, etc.) by Philip Pullman, which if you haven't read, you should. From Michael Chabon writing for the New York Review of Books:

"Pity those--adventurers, adolescents, authors of young adult fiction--who make their way in the borderland between worlds. It is at worst an invisible and at best an inhospitable place. Build your literary house on the borderlands, as the English writer Philip Pullman has done, and you may find that your work is recommended by booksellers, as a stopgap between installments of Harry Potter, to children who cannot (one hopes) fully appreciate it, and to adults, disdainful or baffled, who 'don't read fantasy.' Yet all mystery resides there, in the margins, between life and death, childhood and adulthood, Newtonian and quantum, 'serious' and 'genre' literature. And it is from the confrontation with mystery that the truest stories have always drawn their power."

The ful review is behind a ($3) firewall sadly, but if I remember, which is doubtful, I'll try to bring a copy of the entire longwinded thing to the soiree tomorrow evening.

Anonymous said...

You have provided an excellent response to the following:

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not usually visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes presuming there is at least one good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household -a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second--3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, and moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them---Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would adsorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.